Militants seize district in volatile Afghan province

Mon Nov 1, 2010 10:12am GMT

By Mustafa Andalib

GHAZNI, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A large number of insurgents attacked and seized a district in an Afghan province Sunday night, officials said, the latest in a string of assaults on foreign and government targets.

Mohammad Yaseen, police commander for Khogyani district in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul, told Reuters the militants had set fire to the district headquarters and police had suffered casualties defending the area.

Yaseen, who fled to the provincial capital, Ghazni city, did not know the exact number of casualties and said the insurgents were still holding the area.

The Interior Ministry released a statement later Monday saying the provincial police chief had travelled to the area to investigate and that Afghan police had regained control.

Several rooms in the district centre and a police vehicle were destroyed in the attack, it said, but gave no details on casualties.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said the Islamist group had carried out the attack, adding the militants had seized police vehicles and weapons.

Taliban militants have seized similar districts in the past

during the night only to retreat a few hours later, but Sunday's raid highlights the fragile security in some of the remote districts around the country.   Continued...

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